WASHINGTON — The Latest on Congress and spending legislation (all times local):
The House has passed a temporary government-wide funding bill that would prevent the government from shutting down at midnight Thursday.
The mostly party-line vote sends the bill to the Senate, which appears likely to change it and send it back.
Senate leaders are hoping to seal a long-sought agreement to add almost $300 billion over two years to the budgets for the Pentagon and domestic agencies, which otherwise face a budget freeze.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans on Capitol Hill want a repeat of last month’s government shutdown.
But President Donald Trump unexpectedly raised the possibility Tuesday of closing things down again if he can’t have his way on immigration, saying, “I’d love to see a shutdown if we can’t get this stuff taken care of.”
President Donald Trump is calling for another government shutdown if Democrats refuse to back his proposed changes to US immigration law.
“I’d love to see a shutdown,” if Democrats refuse to back his immigration proposals.
The president commented during a White House round-table on the MS-13 gang, where he also blasted the “stupidity” of US immigration law.
Trump has proposed steep cuts in legal immigration and increases in border security, including a southern border wall, in exchange for continued protection from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the US as children and are living here illegally. Democrats have balked at Trump’s proposals.
Disagreement over immigration forced a three-day government shutdown in January.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is laying out the dire details of Congress’ failure to pass a budget. He told a House committee Tuesday that without stable funding the Pentagon won’t be able to pay troops, recruit needed soldiers and airmen, adequately maintain ships or keep enough ammunition on hand to deter war.
Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee that military aircraft will have to be grounded because there won’t be enough spare parts and maintenance.
Congress has failed to pass a budget for the fiscal year that began last Oct. 1. The latest temporary funding measure expires at midnight Thursday.
Mattis says the US military can’t win tomorrow’s wars with yesterday’s weapons and equipment. He warns of growing competition and threats from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and extremist organizations.
House Republican leaders are proposing to keep the government open for another six weeks by adding a year’s worth of Pentagon funding to a stopgap spending bill.
But Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says that approach, fully funding the Defense Department but only providing temporary money for the rest of the government, won’t go anywhere in the Senate.
Aides and lawmakers say budget talks in the Senate are moving toward an agreement for whopping increases in Pentagon spending as well as domestic programs.
As Congress works to avoid a shutdown at midnight Thursday, the question remains whether House Democrats will approve of a spending agreement if there isn’t much progress in addressing the issue of immigrants left vulnerable with the looming expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.